Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has cleared the way for county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after SCOTUS’ historic decision on marriage equality.
Hood contacted county clerks Monday letting them know they are free to marry same-sex couples. While some same-sex couples were married in Mississippi on Friday, Hood issued a statement saying that Mississippi would not immediately comply with the Court’s decision. As WREG reports, many clerks would not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Friday because of that statement.
“The Supreme Court’s decision is not effective immediately in Mississippi. It will become effective in Mississippi, and circuit clerks will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses, when the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge Reeves’ order. This could come quickly or may take several days. The 5th Circuit might also choose not to lift the stay and instead issue and order, which could take considerably longer before it becomes effective.”
Today, Hood backtracked on those remarks. Via The Clarion-Ledger:
On Monday, the Attorney General sent an e-mail to clerks that his directive on Friday “seems to have been misinterpreted as prohibiting Circuit Clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The statement was merely meant to explain that an order of the Fifth Circuit would be necessary to lift the stay.”
Despite the fact the stay has not yet been lifted, the letter continued, “Obergefell is the law of the land. If a clerk has issued or decides to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple, there will be no adverse action taken by the Attorney General against that circuit clerk on behalf of the State … On the other hand, a clerk who refuses to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple could be sued by the denied couple and may face liability.”